Les Moutons de Panurge

for open instrumentation
By Fredric Rzewski

Les Moutons de Panurge is inspiredby Rabelais’ fable of Panurge’s sheep, who follow each other blindly off the side of a ship. Here the performers are given a tune and instructions on how that tune is to be repeated. Not unlike well-intentioned sheep, the players begin together in perfect unison. However, as each player begins unintentionally “falling off” the tuneone at a time, what results is an increasingly chaotic, semi-improvised counterpoint.

The work is dedicated to Frans Brüggen, and was completed in March 1969.

“The future is what the present can bear.”
--Robert Fripp